Semon Palatnik was born in Odessa, Ukraine on March 26, 1950. Though his very noble name, "Semyon" means "heard by God," upon relocating to the United States of America, he found that his name was difficult for even educated westerners to pronounce and determined to change his name to the anglicized, "Sam," as a patriotic nod to the American symbol, Uncle Sam.
As a child, Palatnik was educated in world-class chess at the internationally renowned "Palace of Pioneers." Taking a break from chess to earn his Masters of Engineering Science (with an emphasis in Thermodynamics and Power Station Engineering) from Odessa Polytechnic University, he returned to active play in the late 1970's and swiftly earned his International Master title in 1977 and, shortly thereafter, the International Grandmaster title, in 1978.
As a scholastic chess prodigy, Palatnik won four team and individual gold medals at the 20th World Student Team Chess Championship at Teesside 1974 and also won the 21st World Student Team Championship at Caracas 1976. Later on, as a professional chess player, Palatnik's best tournament results include winning the World Open in 1971, 2nd= at Kiev 1978, 3rd at Hradec Kralove 1981, 2nd= at Trnava 1987, 1st at Hradec Kralove 1988 and 1st= at Calicut 1988. Most well known are the facts that GM Palatnik was twice the World Junior Champion and twice the European and Soviet Union Champion.
While GM Palatnik continued the tradition of top-flight Soviet-educated chess players, he is certainly better known for his spectacular results as a chess coach. While still in the former USSR, Palatnik served as the Executive Director of the Ukrainian National Chess Academy and the Vice President of the Ukranian Chess Association and was honored with the title of "Emeritus Chess Coach of the Ukraine."
Upon relocating to the United States in the 1990's alongside his longtime friend and frequent co-author, GM Lev Alburt, Sam Palatnik became, in 1994, the Grandmaster in Residence for the Nashville Chess Center. Continuing in his successful career representing American chess, Palatnik was named the American "Ambassador of Chess," by the United States Chess Federation, in 2003. Furthermore, he served as the US Chess Coach for the World Junior Championship and the Chess Olympiad, from 1999-2010.
Presently, GM Palatnik is a collegiate chess coach and assistant director for the nationally respected chess program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and has served as the private coach of many successful scholastic players, including USCF Senior Master Warren Harper, Arena International Master Sean J. Manross and, more recently, the prodigy and International Master, Awonder Liang.
GM Sam Palatnik is a prolific chess author of note, publishing such titles as: Chess Tactics for the Tournament Player, Chess Strategy for the Tournament Player, The King in Jeopardy, The Tarrasch Formula, The Chess GPS, and most recently, Platonov's Chess Academy: Using Soviet-era Methods to Improve 21st-Century Openings.
Grandmaster Sam Palatnik also holds the esteemed FIDE governance titles of International Organizer and FIDE Senior Trainer.
Wikipedia article: Sam Palatnik